Pixar, DreamWorks, and Disney Animation are among the most prolific and talented studios working in animation today. But LAIKA Entertainment, a Portland-based studio with four feature-length movies under its belt, just might be the most talented in the biz.

Never heard of them? Over the past decade, this Oscar-nominated studio has created some of the most imaginative and gorgeous animated films to ever hit the big screen, and its next project, Kubo and the Two Strings, could be its masterpiece. That’s saying a lot considering the studio created Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Box Trolls.

Ahead of Kubo’s Aug. 19 release, Universal opened up an amazing exhibit, From Coraline to Kubo: A Magical LAIKA Experience, that TechnoBuffalo toured with LAIKA president and CEO Travis Knight. The exhibit celebrates the studio’s evolution of handcrafted stop-motion animation and visual effects, which has become the cornerstone of LAIKA’s movies.

To get an idea of just how much work goes into the studio’s films, check out the video below:

The exhibit consists of several rooms dedicated to LAIKA’s expanding body of work, with displays of props, characters, sets and quotes from the studio’s artists explaining how much work is required to create convincing and emotive stop animation. For Kubo, LAIKA’s newest challenge was getting water to look just right.

“Water is always a challenge for each of our movies, and Ollie [Jones] created a practical water system that utilized an iron grid covered with various materials including fabrics and garbage bags. This yielded breakthroughs including a scoop patterning that we knew we would want to sustain through the final images. We then studied real-life waves. It took us about eight months to come up with a look for the rolling sea that combined realistic water motion and a heavily-designed surface. The waves are beautiful and menacing, and most importantly they fit into Kubo’s world and propel the story.”

What’s most impressive is that most of LAIKA’s creations are done by hand. During our tour, there was actually a live demonstration of how the stop-motion process works; it’s a meticulous and time-consuming process, but the results speak for themselves. Not only are these movies impressively detailed but they display fully realized worlds that are as immersive as anything we’ve seen from Pixar.

To give you an idea of the kind of artistry that went into Kubo, LAIKA said the Sisters (Rooney Mara), which were inspired by a female samurai warrior named Tomoe Gozen, required over 860 laser-etched feathers on their capes alone, each of which was uniquely sized and shaped. The Moon Beast, meanwhile, was a combination of around 900 parts, including internal dressing pieces and 3D-printed parts.

If you geek out on LAIKA’s movies, the exhibit is a must-see. Not only is it a beautiful display of a studio at the top of its craft, but it showcases how LAIKA is pushing the industry of animation forward in amazingly creative ways. Unfortunately, the exhibit is limited and only runs until Aug. 14, so time is running out.

If you’re lucky enough to live in the Southern California area, I highly suggest you catch From Coraline to Kubo: A Magical LAIKA Experience at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Globe Theatre.